Providing Ukrainian communities with drinking water

Published: Jun 27, 2024 Reading time: 4 minutes
Providing Ukrainian communities with drinking water
© Photo: People in Need

Clean water is a vital human need. Russia's war on Ukraine has destroyed water supply networks and significantly worsened access to this vital resource. We are implementing a large-scale project to restore access to water in the communities most affected by the hostilities. Join us in the village of Polyhon in Mykolaiv Oblast, where we installed a water tank to provide residents with quality water. 

People from everywhere are heading to the village centre with empty tanks. Some even take carts to get more clean water. The opening of the pump room is a truly remarkable event for the residents of Polyhon. Although there is a water supply in the village, the water is not suitable for drinking.

"We have analysed this water. There are no bacteria or viruses. But there is lime. A lot of scale has formed into sediment," says Alla Holik, director of the utility company.

"As soon as you draw water from the tap and boil it, you can immediately see the scale on the kettle. But there is no other water, so we drink it," adds resident Nadiia Kuznietsova.

Russia’s advance on Mykolaiv in 2022 put Polyhon in the line of fire. The streets were shelled with heavy artillery, which destroyed houses. Two water towers were also damaged. But later, the village returned to normal. Now, about 3,000 people live here, including many IDPs. There were problems with water before, but they have become acute because of the war, says the village head, Iryna Naumovych. With the financial support of the American people through USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance we installed a pump in the village. And now the residents can get clean water for free.

"Thank you for paying attention to us and taking such an important step: installing a water purification system. Because we have never had any drinking water before," says Iryna Naumovych. 

The system is fully automatic. To collect water, you need to press a button. The pump is located in the centre of the village, making it convenient for all residents. Our specialists constantly monitor the water quality.

"We have installed powerful units. The water goes through all stages of purification. That's how people get clean water. Water can be collected around the clock. When there is no electricity, the community is provided with generators," says Volodymyr Kovyrshyn, WASH Engineer at People in Need.

Mariia also came to the pump for free water. She is glad that we have provided this service as it reduces her financial burdens.

"I buy bottled water for drinking. But the tap water makes the dishes yellow. It's scary to drink it," says Mariia Fisiienko, a resident of Polyhon.

Summer in Polyhon is tough. Only one of the water towers damaged by shelling has been replaced. Therefore, there is not enough running water, and this is supplied to consumers on an hourly basis. However, we are working to address this problem.

"We are now considering the technical possibilities of restoring the tower. We want to ensure that centralised water supply services are provided in full," says Serhii Saienko, Deputy Programme Implementation Director at People in Need.

In the Shevchenkivska community, we helped restore access to drinking water not only to the residents of the Polyhon but also to t Zelenyi Hai. In general, within the framework of DOVIRA project funded by the American people through USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, we will assist 35 settlements in eastern and southern Ukraine.

"People in Need pays great attention to the communities affected by the demolition of the Kakhovka dam. This will include the restoration of destroyed water supply systems and the restoration of filtration systems. Because the project involves not only providing a sufficient amount of water but also making sure that it is of high quality, i.e., potable," mentions Serhii Saienko, Deputy Programme Implementation Director at People in Need.

To ensure uniform assistance, we coordinate our work with other organisations working in the WASH sector and local authorities. Restoring water supply cannot be done overnight; it takes time and effort. And we are inspired by the gratitude of the people we have helped.  

Autor: People in Need

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